Macao casinos had their best month since January as China's Golden Week holiday brought more visitors to the gambling mecca. But with wagering revenue still down 72.5% from a year ago, according to figures released today, it's not saying all that much.

Yet reports that Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) is considering selling its Las Vegas casinos to focus on Asia indicate confidence Macao will eventually recover.

Macao skyline at dusk

The Macao skyline. Image source: Getty Images.

Macao's Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau reported casinos took in 7.27 billion patacas ($910 million) in October, significantly better than the past six months, when gambling revenue tumbled 90% or more.

It was the region's best performance since January, when revenue dropped 11%. China was affected earlier by the coronavirus pandemic because COVID-19 erupted in Wuhan Province in that country. But after only briefly closing for two weeks in February, the gambling halls have been open since.

The problem for resort operators like Melco Resorts & Entertainment (NASDAQ:MLCO), MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN) has been Beijing's travel restrictions on its citizens. So despite casinos being open, few people, if any, can visit.

The government only eased up on its travel ban at the end of September, just ahead of Golden Week. The eight-day celebration encompasses National Day on Oct. 1, celebrating the founding of the People's Republic of China, and runs through Oct. 8. Although it was hoped the holiday would be the spark that ignites Macao's recovery, it didn't pan out, since travel was still markedly below expectations.

Year to date, gambling revenue is down 81%. MGM just reported earnings that showed revenue from China in the third quarter was down 94% from last year.

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